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Back to school tips & tricks by Heather Olivier

Heading back to school is always a big deal in our house.  It is a time of huge transition and change.  That transition causes increased excitement and increased anxiety.  Sometimes that looks the same in my household.  I have learned over the years that some strategic planning can help ease some of the back to school jitters.  The following are my top seven tried and true tips for a smooth transition (or relatively smooth) back to school.

  1. IEP or 504 - If your child has an IEP or 504, find it and review it.  If you don’t know where it is or don’t have a copy, request one from the school or your child’s case manager.  It is important to know what is included in the document and what might be missing. 
  2. One-Page Profile - Create a one-page profile.  A one-page profile is a great way to capture key information on how to best support your child in the classroom and other environments.  FACT Oregon has examples and templates that you can use to create one. 
  3. Parent Input Statement - Do you have an upcoming meeting where you will be meeting with the teaching team?  The best preparation that you can do is to plan for what you want to share with the team.  A Parent Input Statement can help you prepare for a meeting by helping you identify and write your concerns and remedies.  You can find a sample of a Parent Input Statement on page 8 and 9 of FACT Oregon’s Special Education Toolkit.
  4. Social Story - Write a Social Story for your child.  A social story can help your child transition back to school successfully.  You can use personalized text and illustrations to help ease some of the anxiety of transitioning back to school.  If you do a simple Google search, you can find templates that you can customize.  I was also able to find some free social stories on Teachers Pay Teachers. 
  5. Back to School Events - You can start the school year off on the right foot by getting involved in attending school events.  Find out if your child’s school will have upcoming events and make sure that you attend.  Getting involved in school activities and participating in your school community are essential in helping your school welcome all kids. 
  6. Schedule - It is important to have a consistent back to school schedule.  This will help relieve some anxiety.  Frequently, schedules change during the summer.  Starting back to school schedules as early as possible allows your child to be prepared for the back to school transition.
  7. Attend a Training - Learn as much as you can about your child’s IEP/504.  You are your child’s greatest advocate.  You are an expert on your child and their number one fan.  Attending trainings will help you learn new information and how to effectively advocate for your child.  FACT Oregon has an online IEP Online Training Module available for you to view anytime. 

In addition, FACT Oregon is coming to a region near you!  We’re excited to announce that Regional Learning Summits will be happening across the state.  You won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn!  Look for the Summit that is closest to you.  

Best wishes for a great school year!


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